Wednesday

22nd Feb 2017

Focus

Vote for Schulz to ensure a German commission president, says ad

  • "Only if you vote for Martin Schulz and the SPD can a German become president of the European Commission," says the quarter page ad on page seven in the Bild newspaper (Photo: EUobserver)

While EU commission president candidates position themselves above the domestic fray – European candidates for a European job – their political parties at home can be much more pragmatic.

Germany's SPD party, political home to commission president candidate Martin Schulz, on Friday ran a quarter page ad in national papers saying that only a vote for the SPD will ensure that a German gets the top post.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Only if you vote for Martin Schulz and the SPD can a German become president of the European Commission," says the text of the ad in the Bild and Sueddeutsche newspapers, alongside a picture of the man himself.

The Bild Zeitung, a tabloid, is Germany's most widely-read newspaper. It has a populist tone and came to prominence beyond the country's borders for it shrill headlines and content about Greece at the height of the eurozone crisis.

The online version of the news paper features a less emphatic ad.

The picture remains the same but says: Martin Schulz. From Germany. For Europe. Vote SPD on 25 May.

The print version illustrates the extent to which European politics is still couched in domestic terms.

This is also reflected in the fact that the EU vote runs across four days and is often used as a tool to punish domestic politicians. There are also various rules on election thresholds and preferential voting and no transnational lists.

The SPD ad, with its nationalistic focus, also runs against the ethos of Schulz's own campaign which has been about emphasising European solutions for EU problems such as high youth unemployment and failing migration policy.

In a recent interview with Der Spiegel where he was asked about his nationality, Schulz said it does not play a role.

"Europe is in a very dangerous situation. We cannot consider each other to be adversaries. I have a European calling and nationality plays no role for me. I think people know that."

The ad is also likely to have unwittingly fed into fears that Germany's dominance in the EU – Berlin pushed the austerity-focussed response to the eurozone crisis – would be reinforced with a German commission president.

A spokesperson for Schulz said he had not yet seen the ad but added he would not be able to comment on it as "this is coming from the party".

EU treaty rules say commissioners should represent the common European good, however member states are always keen to get "their" man or woman in charge of an influential dossier.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

Cameron mends ties with Juncker

British PM Cameron has reached out to Juncker, after having failed to prevent his nomination as European Commission chief.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  2. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  3. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  4. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  5. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  6. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  7. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  8. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  2. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  3. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  4. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  8. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  10. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  11. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  12. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"

Latest News

  1. Should Europeans spend more on defence?
  2. Dieselgate: EU disappointed with VW's treatment of customers
  3. French police raid Le Pen's party office
  4. The Armenia-Azerbaijan war: A refugee's story
  5. Greece and creditors break bailout deadlock
  6. Internal EU report exposes Libya turmoil
  7. EU commissioner condemns 'delay' in post-Dieselgate reform
  8. Sweden fights back as foreign leaders make up bad news